Wednesday, 2 July 2014

More Sharp Practice

Sometimes pubs just don't help themselves do they.? Fast on the heels of my previous post about warm glasses, I was out in Manchester with E and two friends discussing the finer points about next week's Munich trip. (Seems we'll drink some beer in beer kellers assuming the right weather).

We started off in Pie and Ale where the beer though excellently kept, wasn't to our taste on that occasion. No issue with that - it's just the luck of the draw. We had no plan,so adopted the simple expedient of going to the nearest good pub, in this case a bar. Five handpumps in front of us and three turned round. The  verycharming barmaid explained that nobody present knew how to change a cask, so if we came back in an hour, we'd have a full choice. This at six o'clock on a Friday evening. Really? We didn't fancy the strong beers on offer, so took her advice and returned later where a full array of beers sorted us out. But it isn't that good is it?

In the meantime we went to a much lauded craft ale bar. The cask beers were to our liking. I chose a pint of one and E a half of a different one. I saw some jiggery pokery going on under the bar however. I tiptoed higher and saw at once what was occurring. E's half had been poured to within a inch of the top from a full glass on the driptray and was being "brightened" by a a sparkler. The beer was warm and flat. I mentioned his sleight of hand to the barman. He said "I'd just poured the pint by mistake and didn't want to waste it." I said that it meant my wife had a poor drink because of it and was therefore paying for his mistake. He shrugged but didn't offer to replace it. I didn't want a fuss so said no more. You don't come to the pub for a confrontation as I've said before.E was unimpressed.

In the first case, not ensuring that staff know how to change beers is amateurish. In the second, it is just bad practice.  You don't make the customers pay for staff mistakes and if unwise enough to get caught doing so, you should apologise and sort it out.

I must be getting soft in my old age by not naming names, but maybe I can be persuaded if readers deem it essential.  There are clues in the text though.


Cooking Lager said...

I think you are unique among punters for having a mindset of giving places multiple chances after a poor experience and generally in wanting to "support" pubs.

Most punters, me included, shrug their shoulders and steer clear of duff pubs.

Takes all sorts, I guess.

Tandleman said...

Both these were what you'd call bars rather than pubs.

Neither are duff per se. But I am a saint among men as you infer.

Bailey said...

That's terrible.

In the grand tradition of publican sleight of hand, though, albeit poorly executed.

Curmudgeon said...

I've had that before - always strikes me as one of the worst examples of poor bar practice.

On the other hand, I once went in a pub and was offered about three-quarters of a pint of recently-pulled beer for the price of a half!

@Cookie - even the best pub will have an off day. If you never went to a pub again because of one poor experience, you would probably never go to pubs.

Professor Pie-Tin said...

Name names.
Like Tripadvisor it's the only way you the punter haa a chance to kick a lazy business up the arse.
Either that or walk out without paying for the slops.
Sorry,old cock, but this typically British reluctance to confront poor service is why we still get so much of it.

Tandleman said...

PPT: I do indeed complain, but sometimes, I'm just not up for a row.

I can give them a kick here though.

DavidS said...

I agree with PP-T that you should name names. It might just be a one-off bad experience, in which case you're unlikely to single handedly destroy the business of a "much-lauded" craft beer bar (particularly if hoards of people leap to their defence in the comments to say that they've never been anything other than excellent), or you might find that other people have had similarly bad experiences, in which case it's their choice whether they want to apologize and do something about it or not. But if noone directly calls out bad practice, there's even less incentive than usual for pubs and bars to keep their standards high...

Obviously it's easy for me to say that when it isn't my blog, though...

Anonymous said...

Letter of complaint to the owner/manager? If they are 'lauded', they are likely to want to remain that way and presumably not wish to be associated with penny pinching, cavalier, sharp practice.

Phil said...

Much-lauded craft beer bars don't tend to be cheap, either!

I once bought a pint of a 'Christmas' beer at a reduced price (in January) only to find it was off - not just on the turn, it was undrinkably sour. I took it back and was told "Yes, we know - that's why we reduced it."

(I could name the pub, but it was a long time ago and they've improved a lot.)

RedNev said...

From the 1970s until about 10 or 15 years ago, I often used to lean right over the bar to see what was being poured. I refused any glass whipped off the shelf and then topped up, especially as quite often it had been topped up from the slops in the drip tray. I wouldn't be astonished if that was what had happened to E's drink, because "I just poured this earlier by mistake" was always the excuse I was given, even when I knew better. I wrote about this at greater length 10 months ago.

Cooking Lager said...

You have the right attitude there, Nev

refuse to pay and tell them to stick.

Far more sensible than some of this lot.

Tandleman said...

David. As already revealed on Twitter, it was the Port St Beer House.